2 Kings 25 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 2 Kings 25)

Verse 1

[1] And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about.

Came — To chastise Zedekiah for his rebellion and perjury.

Built — To keep all supplies of men or provisions from entering into the city: and that from thence they might shoot darts, or arrows, or stones.

Verse 3

[3] And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.

The people — For the common people, but only for the great men. Now they eat their own children for want of food, Lamentations 4:3, etc. Jeremiah in this extremity, earnestly persuaded the king to surrender; but his heart was hardened to his destruction.

Verse 6

[6] So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.

Riblah — Where Nebuchadnezzar staid, that he might both supply the besiegers with men, and military provisions, as their occasions required; and have an eye to Chaldea, to prevent or suppress any commotions which might happen there in his absence.

They — The king's officers appointed thereunto, examined his cause, and passed the following sentence against him.

Verse 7

[7] And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.

Slew, … — Tho' they were but children, that this spectacle, the last he was to behold, might leave a remaining impression of grief and horror upon his spirit. And in slaying his sons they in effect declared, that the kingdom was no more, and that he nor any of his breed were fit to be trusted: therefore not fit to live.

Babylon — Thus two prophecies were fulfilled, which seemed contrary one to the other, that he should go to Babylon, Jeremiah 32:5; 34:3, and that he should never see Babylon: which seeming contradiction, because Zedekiah the false prophet could not reconcile, he concluded both were false, and it seems Zedekiah the king might stumble at this difficulty.

Verse 8

[8] And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem:

Months, … — So the Chaldeans did not put all to fire and sword, as soon as they had taken the city: but about a month after, orders were sent, to compleat the destruction of it. This space God gave them to repent after all the foregoing days of his patience. But in vain; they still hardened their hearts: and therefore execution is awarded to the utmost.

Verse 9

[9] And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire.

Burnt the house of the Lord — One of the apocryphal writers tells us, that Jeremiah got the ark out of the temple, and conveyed it to a cave in mount Nebo, 2Macc 2:4,5. But this is like the other tales of that author, who has no regard either to truth or probability. For Jeremiah was at this time a close prisoner. By the burning of the temple God would shew, how little he cares for the outward pomp of his worship, when the life and power of religion are gone. About four hundred and thirty years the temple of Solomon had stood. And it is observed by Josephus, that the second temple was burnt by the Romans, the same month, and the same day of the month, that the first temple was burnt by the Chaldeans.

Verse 11

[11] Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away.

People — Whom neither the sword nor famine had destroyed, who were eight hundred and thirty two persons, Jeremiah 52:29, being members and traders of that city: for it is likely, there were very many more of the country people fled thither, who were left with others of their brethren to manure the land.

Multitude — Of the inhabitants of the country.

Verse 12

[12] But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.

Left of the poor — So while the rich were prisoners in a strange land, the poor had liberty and peace in their own country! Thus providence sometimes humbles the proud, and favours them of low degree.

Verse 21

[21] And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land.

Out of the land — This compleated their calamity, about eight hundred and sixty years after they were put in possession of it by Joshua.

Verse 22

[22] And as for the people that remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, ruler.

Gedaliah — A righteous and good man, and a friend to the prophet Jeremiah.

Verse 24

[24] And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you.

Sware — Assured them by his promise and oath, that they should be kept from the evils which they feared. This he might safely swear, because he had not only the king of Babylon's promise but also God's promise deliver'd by Jeremiah. And it might seem, a fair prospect was opening again. But how soon was the scene changed! This hopeful settlement is quickly dashed in pieces, not by the Chaldeans, but by some of themselves.

Verse 25

[25] But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came, and ten men with him, and smote Gedaliah, that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldees that were with him at Mizpah.

Came — Moved with envy to see so mean a person advanced into their place.

Ten men — Ten captains or officers, and under each of them many soldiers.

Verse 26

[26] And all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the armies, arose, and came to Egypt: for they were afraid of the Chaldees.

Egypt — And here they probably mixt with the Egyptians by degrees, and were heard of no more as Israelites.

Verse 27

[27] And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;

Seven and twentieth — Or, on the twenty fifth day, as it is, Jeremiah 52:31. For then the decree was made, which was executed upon the twenty seventh day.

Verse 30

[30] And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.

All the days of his life — Let none say, they shall never see good again, because they have long seen little but evil. The most afflicted know not what blessed turn providence may yet give to their affairs.